Breathtaking transformation for heritage home in Killara

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The key challenge

Simon and Michela bought a beautiful family heritage home on a large site, situated in a quiet street in Killara. They loved the home and the area but knew they wanted to make some changes to fit their family’s lifestyle better.

So, they got in touch with architect Brett Churcher.

The key challenge in this Killara home renovation project was that it’s built in a conservation zone.


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The key challenge

Simon and Michela bought a beautiful family heritage home on a large site, situated in a quiet street in Killara. They loved the home and the area but knew they wanted to make some changes to fit their family’s lifestyle better.

So, they got in touch with architect Brett Churcher.

The key challenge in this Killara home renovation project was that it’s built in a conservation zone.


This limits the possibilities to what homeowners can change. But with a good dose of creativity and DA council knowledge, Brett and his team left no stone unturned to transform this home into a light-filled, fit-for-purpose masterpiece.

“The house is built on a large site, but is situated well back from the front boundary. It did not have much of a rear yard. The garage and pool were all blocking the northern aspect, which our client wanted to change,” explains Brett.

Wanting to add a first floor with three large bedrooms, a bathroom and a study nook, meant Brett and his team had to work around the various controls from council.

“One of these controls is that you shouldn’t be able to view the first floor from the street. There were several other design challenges we had to solve with a small rear yard and a brief to enlarge the home on both levels, via an open plan kitchen/meals/family room and a large first floor addition, certainly presented us with a challenge. How do we design this big home, but still feel like it has a generous back yard? ” says Brett.

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The major changes

The first major steps in this renovation project were moving both the garage and the pool to open up the rear yard and get that beautiful north aspect.

Brett explains: “We pushed the pool up against the north west corner of the site and moved the garage forward and lower, effectively placing it under an elevated pool terrace whilst connecting it to the home via internal stairs.

This opened up the view to the backyard from the new central living areas and the kitchen.


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The major changes

The first major steps in this renovation project were moving both the garage and the pool to open up the rear yard and get that beautiful north aspect.

Brett explains: “We pushed the pool up against the north west corner of the site and moved the garage forward and lower, effectively placing it under an elevated pool terrace whilst connecting it to the home via internal stairs.

This opened up the view to the backyard from the new central living areas and the kitchen.


For the inside, the goal was to have a big kitchen that wraps around and looks out at both the side boundary and the rear boundary. We then placed the meals and living area in the centre of the house, which opens up to a generous terrace overlooking the rear yard.

The key was to create that spatial flow so that all the key rooms look to the back yard.”

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True to the initial hand sketches

The renovated home perfectly resembles the initial hand sketches made by Playoust Churcher. This is testament to the success of Playoust Churcher’s proven design process.

“If we get the concepts right and follow our six stage design process, there is a lot of confidence in the final product. For the client, this eliminates fear and uncertainty. They know they can trust the process because they know what they will get,” says Brett.

The evolution from initial sketches, to the 3D model and the final result, as seen here, are striking.


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True to the initial hand sketches

The renovated home perfectly resembles the initial hand sketches made by Playoust Churcher. This is testament to the success of Playoust Churcher’s proven design process.

“If we get the concepts right and follow our six stage design process, there is a lot of confidence in the final product. For the client, this eliminates fear and uncertainty. They know they can trust the process because they know what they will get,” says Brett.

The evolution from initial sketches, to the 3D model and the final result, as seen here, are striking.


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A happy client

Simon and Michela could not be happier with the result and how the entire process took shape. “From the early design stage with our plans, Brett and John did a great job of getting us to a design that we loved that also met the conservation zoning controls we were limited by. They handled everything in the DA process and really took the burden off us.

Whenever council had a concern or objection, Brett and John were there to answer that and proactively come up with solutions for us that were really in line with what we wanted. We were willing to be flexible, which did help.


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A happy client

Simon and Michela could not be happier with the result and how the entire process took shape. “From the early design stage with our plans, Brett and John did a great job of getting us to a design that we loved that also met the conservation zoning controls we were limited by. They handled everything in the DA process and really took the burden off us.

Whenever council had a concern or objection, Brett and John were there to answer that and proactively come up with solutions for us that were really in line with what we wanted. We were willing to be flexible, which did help.


When they suggested things, we made small changes… and making those small changes helped us to get the majority of what we wanted in our final design.”

Brett adds: “It was important for the clients that the home maintained its existing look, and that the new addition would complement the home’s character and detail but with a modern interpretation. 

We worked with the client and council, putting both the renovation and heritage arguments forward to reach solutions that worked for everyone.”

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Fit for family lifestyle

Simon and Michela’s renovated home now fits his family lifestyle like a glove. They love cooking and entertaining, which the large kitchen and open living areas now make so easy. Their three children each now have a generous sized bedroom on the first floor.

The home has kept its priceless heritage value, with the new bedrooms tucked behind the roof and not visible from the street.


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Fit for family lifestyle

Simon and Michela’s renovated home now fits his family lifestyle like a glove. They love cooking and entertaining, which the large kitchen and open living areas now make so easy. Their three children each now have a generous sized bedroom on the first floor.

The home has kept its priceless heritage value, with the new bedrooms tucked behind the roof and not visible from the street.


Playoust Churcher are experts in heritage renovation design because of their vast experience in navigating DA processes. Contact Playoust Churcher today to discuss your dreams of renovating.

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